Chris Cluff is my brother from another mother. We sat next to each other at the office for a couple years. At the time, three of us worked together. Chris and Anna are each about 10 years older than I am. They became like big siblings and career role models for me. Since I sat between them, we joked that Cluff was the devil on one shoulder and Anna was the angel on the other.
They both taught me invaluable rules for life and made me better at my job. My favorite rule from Anna was, “At the end of the day, I always sleep better knowing I treated everyone I encountered with kindness.”
Cluff really is no devil. I once asked him to help me punch up a letter that needed to be more assertive. That’s when he started sharing Cluff’s Rules for Life with me. Here are a few:
- Never accept a first offer.
- Plenty of people want your business. Don’t do business with someone who doesn’t respect you.
- Always be on the offense. You don’t score from defense.
- Make sure you know yourself before you try to know someone else.
- Don’t worry about what others think unless you know and respect them.
- It’s important to balance the Sevenals.
What the hell are Sevenals? I asked the same. Mental, Physical, Emotional, Spiritual, Social, Professional and Financial. Cluff said he likes to rate each one from time to time, just to see on paper where he needs to focus. “It’s just my way of reminding myself what I already know,” he said.
I wasn’t sure I wanted to do this exercise. I can be pretty hard on myself. Confession: I recently wrote on a doctor questionaire that I was concerned with weight gain. My doctor looked at me with suspicion and told me I was actually quite thin and needed to eat more. A friend also recently told me that I underestimate my abilities professionally. So I was afraid I’d give myself all Fs on the Balancing of the Sevenals. But I did it anyway.
Mental: A- I’ve become really good at allowing thoughts into my head and processing them. I’m good at considering possibilities, but there’s room for improvement, especially when it comes to trusting my gut in certain situations.
Physical: A- I’m stronger than ever. Last week at soccer, one of my teammates and I collided. He fell down, but I could use my core strength to recover and stay on my feet. That said, I would like to get stronger in the core, arms and work on endurance.
Emotional: A. I’ve been working on expressing my feelings better. I’m a quick study. I’m very in touch with my emotions.
Spiritual: A. I’ve always been good at being grateful and reflective.
Social: B. I have great friends who mostly live far away from me, but I’m good at staying connected with those I care about. I’ve also gone out of my way to be social in New York, chatting up people at the gym, playing in a social soccer team and arranging outings with friends. Still, New York is a lonely place.
Professional: C. My career is growing, but it’s not yet where I want it to be. I’m hustling and really narrowing where I want to be and how to get there without spinning my wheels. I hope to get this grade up in a hurry.
Financial: C. My pocketbook has really taken a hit since I said adios to my roommates and got my own place. I knew it would and I don’t regret the decision. I’m not in trouble or anything. My investments are in good shape, but my savings just isn’t what it was when I was in Seattle. But I’m honest with the situation. I choose where to spend my money. For example, I’d prefer to go to Hawaii, a Broadway show or buy my niece a new coloring book than go out to dinner. I’m not afraid to politely decline invitations that aren’t on my priority list.